Dan Bird

Joe Brown

I started running competitively when I went out for the Madeira Track Team my sophomore year at Madeira High School back in 1976.   I was a sprinter for the three years I ran track, running mostly the 220, 440, and 880 and mile relays.  I ran cross country my junior and senior years.

I continue to train and race, as I enjoy the health benefits and I still have the desire to test myself against competition (and the clock). 

What I like most about Earth Drummers is being part of a team, the friendships that I have made and the camaraderie that we share.

DATE     RACE                                                     DISTANCE            TIME
2011       USATF MASTERS NATIONALS         1500                       04:48
2010       MADEIRA MILE                                   MILE                       04:54
2011       ANTHEM LOUISVILLE                       5K                           17:41*
2011       MINSTER                                              10K                         38:09
2011       HEART MINI                                         15K                         58:56
2009       DAYTON CORRIDOR HALF               13.1                        1:25:34
2008       COLUMBUS MARATHON                   26.2                        3:08:15
* Short course but still a PR    


Dan Burnett
Quality Engineer at Celanese

Top Performances:
Marathon PR 2:41:58 at the Flying Pig in '13
Olympic Distance Triathlon PR 2:04:45
Keys 100 mile Relay 9:23:59 (Course Record)
Running history/highlights:
In college I ran for Alfred University (D3), afterwards I was burned out from the 5k and 10k races and took 3 years completely off of running. I started back up after meeting Sue (my now wife) who showed me that there is more to running than just 5 and 10k's. We have both qualified for and competed in the Boston Marathon and enjoy running in relay races together. Every year we run Dances with Dirt 100k Relay in Hell, MI. It is great having a spouse with similar interests and training schedules - it really helps when one of us needs a push to get out the door after a long day at work, as the other is giving the much-needed harassment. Over the past few years I have become more interested in triathlon training, competing in Olympic Distance (including age group nationals) and Ironman Distance Triathlons. I started running with the Earth Drummers in January of '13. The group has really helped push me harder with speed and hill workouts than I would have pushed on my own. It is an excellent group to run with.

Lon Bussell
Occupation:  Oboist for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Personal Records:
1 mile   4:31 (road) , 5K       16:17, 5 mile  27:20, 10K:    34:20, 15K (mini)  52:30, Half Marathon.  1:15:56, Marathon: 2:45

Flying Pig Mar PR (2001 race): 
0:39:06 | 1:22:44 | 2:07:48 | 2:48:53 | 2:48:52 | 16 | 2

I only ran for fitness until I was in my early thirties. At that point I got hooked on the competitive scene, and began training with a couple of the top local marathoners. During my first year of racing I set my PRs in the 5K, 10K, half marathon and in my first marathon (Columbus). I was qualified for Boston, but unfortunately I became injured. Nevertheless I cross-trained, thinking that would get me in shape for the big race.That's how I went from personal best to personal worst (3:28). 10 years later I decided to get "revenge" on that Boston race. I finished that one (2001) in 2:51, and I was the top Cincinnati runner. By that point I was a masters (age 40+) runner and was able to win the masters division in the Dayton Half Marathon, missing my PR by less than 5 seconds. Fast forward a few years: I began training and racing with the Earth Drummers. After figuring out how to balance hard training and learning how to stay healthy as a grand master (age 50+), I have had some good races and look forward to more.

Becky Clark   
My love of running started in the fifth grade when I realized I was much better at running the bases in softball than having enough hand-eye coordination to hit the ball :)  I began running track the following year and have never fully stopped training since! I ran cross country and track at St. Ursula in high school and continued running at Xavier University. I'm so grateful the Earth Drummers welcomed me in after college and allowed me to continue my passion for running! It's wonderful to have a team to train with again, as well as the support that everyone gives each other. 

800 - 2:11, 1500 - 4:30, mile - 4:53, 5k - 16:51, 10k -36:00, 15k - 55:42 

Greg Dickman

Tom Eckel
Married to Jane for 38 years. 2 children and 3 grandchildren.
Occupation: Senior Vice President for Storopack. Graduated from Purdue with an MS in Chemical Engineering.

Began running in 1968, competing in the 220 yard dash for Worthington High School. Went out for cross country to get into shape to step up to the 440, but fell in love with distance running and have competed ever since – through college and beyond.
Lifetime highlights include a 4:09 mile in college, 20 consecutive Boston Marathons, races in Australia and Europe, a still-standing Delaware age group record in the mile, top 5 finishes in USTAF National Masters 1500, bronze medal in the Senior Olympics 1500, Ohio Grand Prix championship and especially a national championship 4x800 relay with fellow Earth Drummers Joe Brown, Dan Bird and Eugene Rutz.
In a running career that has reached 46 years and over 80,000 miles, there have been many experiences and many friendships.
Joining the Earth Drummers in 2006 has extended my competitive career by several years and led me to several age group wins at large races – which had eluded me for years. Randy Cox’s coaching methods changed my training approach dramatically – intervals are run more controlled with much shorter recovery and easy days are now truly easy. The year-long program including base periods, hills, tempo runs and track workouts transitioning into race sharpening and maintenance have proven successful.
Having teammates to share workouts make the workouts more effective and more fun. Being part of a close-knit team makes racing more enjoyable and provides much-needed support. Being an Earth Drummer has allowed me to build friendships with (younger) people of varied backgrounds and share their life changes such as new jobs, weddings and births.

Phil Hagedorn

Chris Higginbotham

Age: 38

I started running 7 years ago as something to do to keep me in shape post-college; WAY post-college. It took a while to figure things out on my own and I ran my first marathon, the Columbus Marathon, in 2007, in 3:41. It took a while to develop a love of running. I ran a few half marathons and continued running the Columbus Marathon over a few years. I joined the Earth Drummers in late 2010. Eventually, things started clicking and I hit 3:08 at the New Orleans Marathon in 2012. It was my first sub 3:10. I've run the Boston marathon twice. There is nothing like running Boston, which is an experience that I will never forget.

The Earth Drummers is a special team loaded with great talent. I am honored to be associated with such talented runners. I feel that my running skills have grown exponentially because of what I have learned being on the team. Coach Cox is always available to offer advice and never pressures you to do things you can't do, but pushes you to do things you can. I am still trying to learn how to run the shorter events. I hope to continue to work on my 5k abilities and strive to get better every time I compete. One thing I have learned from this adventure is that it is fun to run hard and fast, leaving everything out on the course.

PR's: 5k 18:53; 10K 39:22; 15k 1:00:07; Half Marathon 1:25; Full Marathon 3:02


Brandon Koroly

5k (16.56 - 2013 Go OTR 5k) / 10k (35.07 - 2013 Thanksgiving Day Race)

Started running in High School.  Completed three marathons (Chicago marathon in 2003 and 2006, Flying Pig marathon in 2010).  Began running with the Earth Drummers in December 2010, and began to focus on competing locally in 5k-10k distances.


John Meyer
(written by fellow Earth Drummer Tom Eckel)
John was a fair high school runner - primarily 800 meters. He took a few years off during and just after college to find himself. When that proved futile, he started running again in an attempt to show up his father - noted financier and elite age group competitor, Tim Meyer. After dealing with serious back injuries and other ailments, John set his sights on becoming a mediocre marathoner, which he quickly accomplished. Looking for other worlds to conquer, John and his father won a race against bulls in Pamplona. Thereafter John re-focussed on becoming a 5k-10k competitor. At that time he wasted two years of training wooing the lovely and talented Becky Clark. Showing true endurance, he eventually wore her down and they began dating. After winning that race, John could truly train at a high level and has run a number of highly competitive 5K and 10K's, regretably, losing each time to his future bride. Currently John is training to run the 800 meters again. His idol is teammate Landen Summay.
Matt Miele

Melanie Pliskin
Occupation - Business Coordinator at Fosdick & Hilmer

Personal Records (PRs):
800m - 2:15; 1500m - 4:36; 1600m - 4:57; steeplechase - 10:46; 5k - 18:07; 4 miler - 24:07;
10k - 38:30; half marathon - 1:25.14

Brief running history/running highlights -
I have always been a runner! Since the day I could run to the back of my parent's yard, I have LOVED running. As I grew up, I played soccer and eventually honed my running skills on the high school cross country and track teams. I ran for Turpin High School from 1999-2003. My team won the OHSAA Division 1 State Cross Country meet in 2001 and were runners-up in 2002. In 2002, I placed 16th in the State with a time of 18:48. On the track, I was a numerous Regional and State qualifier in the 800m, 1600m and 4x800m. In 2003, we were runner's up in the 4x800 as well as All-Americans in the 4xmile relay at the Nike Outdoor Classic. My personal track bests in high school were 60.2 in the 400, 2:15 in the 800, and 4:59 in the mile.
From there, I was recruited to run for The Ohio State University. I was a 4-year varsity cross country athlete as well a 1500m and Steeplechase specialist on the track. In 2004, I qualified for the NCAA Regional track meet in the Steeplechase. I ended my career at OSU being the record holder in the Steeplechase(10:46) as well as being part of the record-setting Distance Medley Indoor Relay team.
After graduating from OSU with a degree in Architecture and Design, I became a Graduate Assistant for the Xavier University cross country and track teams. I worked with them over the next five years to improve the program and coach the first ever NCAA Regional qualifiers in school history. During my time there, I helped four student athletes qualify to the NCAA Regionals in the Steeplechase. It was an extremely rewarding time during my running career.
As I graduated from Xavier with a Master's in Business Administration, it was time to re-focus my energies on my own running career. That's when I decided to join the Earth Drummers. It has been an amazing two years in which my running capabilities have grown exponentially both physically and mentally. I am running the fastest times of my life and cannot wait to see what the future holds. A few performances to note -
2014 Anthem 5k in a time of 18:30 (my 3rd fastest 5k ever!)
2013 Monumental Half Marathon in a time of 1:25.14; 2013
Hyde Park Blast 4 miler - Female Overall Winner in a time of 24:07 (over a minute PR!); 2012 Thanksgiving Day Race 10k - 38:30 (30 second PR).

David Schumacher
Law Student

Personal Records (PRs):
10k – 37:42; 15k – 58:05

I started running in high school but was far too inconsistent for competition. It did not get much better in undergrad where in my freshman year I signed up for a marathon only a few months out. Needless to say this was a painful learning experience but the training gave me a productive outlet outside of school. Come fall 2014, a founding member of the Earth Drummers suggested I contact Coach Cox if I was serious about improving.
After meeting Coach, I quickly became sold on the science-based workouts that he had me doing and I improved swiftly as a result. It was only eight weeks later where I would hit my goal of a sub-40 minute 10k – an improvement of 2:40 from the year before. I continued to progress rapidly under his watch while training with the best runners in Cincinnati and would place first in my age division at the Heart Mini a few months later. Only a team and coach of this caliber made it possible for a runner with not much running talent to improve as I did.
I look forward to continued progression under Coach Cox and the Earth Drummers.


Cameron Simoneau

I picked-up running while working 65+ hour work weeks in NYC. One day I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize who that person was. So I picked out some old high tops that I had in my closet and started to run the loop in Central Park 5 times a week and got hooked. Since then I have run in 7 marathons and have qualified for Boston twice (running Boston in 2009). I enjoy running and it keeps me sane but I would hardly consider myself great at it. I understand its value as a way to get great exercise in the very busy world that we live in. I played intercollegiate soccer at University of Saint Thomas in Houston Texas and possess an MBA from Rice University. We hope to support you with all of your running needs and to make it as enjoyable as possible; therefore helping you achieve all of your running goals!


Jennifer Hannen Wiest
Occupation:  Controls Engineer at GE Aviation

Personal Records: 
5K = 17:32
10K = 36:31
15K = 59:04
Half Marathon = 1:24:27
Marathon = 3:23:38

Running History/Highlights:
Ran Cross Country and Track at University of Cincinnati
Many more to come as an Earth Drummer!


Eric Walker

Personal Records: 800m=1:51.8; 1000m=2:28; 400m=48.9 (relay split); 1200m (3:03 relay split...)

Eric Walker began running in high school. He joined the cross-country and track teams after a friend invited him to do so, though he never considered himself a distance guy. For four years, he spent summers and autumns tackling the terrain during XC season before running around the "oval" in the spring. (Winters were spent indoors on the wrestling mat.) His high school PRs are as follows: 5k=16:42; 1600m=4:26; 800m=1:55.1, 400m=50.5. (relay). After high school, he decided to run track for the University of Cincinnati. Here, he was "reunited" with fellow Earth Drummer Alan Parker, who was a senior at the time. (Eric had seen Alan before in high school while competing at neighboring schools.) While at UC, Eric ran a variety of distances, but his main focus was the 800m.

After college, Eric began working as a teacher in public schools. He ran sporadically, but it wasn't until he moved to California that he ran his first marathon in '04. Years later, having emigrated from California back to Cincinnati, he bumped into Alan Parker, his college teammate. Both decided to stay in contact.

Alan often encouraged Eric to join the Earth Drummers, citing the legitimacy of the tough workouts. After numerous invitations, Eric decided to join the group. He's glad he did. The group, according to Eric, is comprised of a knowledgeable coach and competitive, professional, well-meaning folks who love running. Perhaps his 3:04 marathon PR will soon fall.